Letters to the Editor
TOT forgiveness vote not forgotten
The article “Forgiven, Not Forgotten” [The Sheet, Feb. 23] boiled my blood. In my opinion:
Kudos to Michael Raimondo and Matt Lehman for being the only responsible Council members who voted to impose the penalties and interest in regards to a home being illegally rented out nightly. As a local, I feel ripped off. For the other Council members who voted to allow the owners, Kevin and Carolynn Cozen, to not have to pay on the penalties and interest, when they fully knew and basically admitted they were renting their home ILLEGALLY, they should resign.
Times are tough, especially for this town. Why would the other 3 Town Council members set a precedent of not collecting what is due? Clearly Rick Wood has a conflict of interest — he represents owners who try to dodge TOT, and therefore should have abstained from voting. It is this type of action that will continue to hinder the recovery of the Town of Mammoth Lakes.
If the Cozens feel mugged, I feel raped.
Shocked, mad, amazed …
I was shocked, mad, amazed, and … by what three members of our City Council did to the citizens of Mammoth. The citizens of Mammoth should never forgive what these members did to this Town and I hope that WE the citizens never forget what they did to our town.
What were they thinking? Were they thinking? Can they think? What were WE thinking when we allowed them to represent us. Why did Rick Wood not abstain from the vote since he had represented a client who was in TOT trouble?
Some of these same people were representing us when the Airport fiasco was put in place. Have they forgotten that we just came out of bankruptcy, after which we laid off a sizeable number of Town employees including police officers who we will sorely need one night in the future. Has the Town sought out and relieved of duty “The Town” who told them there was no tax on short term rentals? I know a lot of property owners who should have talked to “The Town.”
Should I suggest to other property owners that if we are not going to enforce TOT fines and interest penalties to just wait and see if they get caught? No fine, no penalties? Why not?
The excuse that I did not know might work with a five year old but not with the Police when caught for speeding, drunk driving, or other violations of the vehicle code. John Eastman was quoted as saying “ignorance is no excuse,” but then for some reason voted to forgive and forget. Would the IRS forgive and forget? The owners of this property are not poor and/or uneducated. They should have known. It would have been next to impossible to have owned here for five years and been unaware of TOT. They knew enough to collect but not enough to PAY IT.
To quote the property owner, “I feel like I’ve been mugged,” which is what every property owner should feel like.
I hope that there are other people in Mammoth who will step up and run against these three members who clearly do not have the town’s best interest at heart. No matter who runs and wins we cannot be worse off than we are now.
The town deserves better.
Single-family rentals: Legalize it
ANY bankrupt resort town in their right mind should leap at any opportunity to increase revenues, especially an opportunity to expand a cash cow like TOT.
The “issue” of short term (less than 30 days) single-family rentals is not to protect ‘residential culture’, it is to protect commercial interests and suppress competition. Period. TOT ‘cheats’ were almost exclusively commercial until the recent advent of online mom-and-pops, and the TOT officer was hired to go after all of them.
Man up, Council. Legalize it, regulate it, tax it! Sound familiar? This is the new paradigm. Commercial rentals should compete on the basis of service, amenities, price, location, product; not legislate the competition away. Resort towns that have done this haven’t had residential blight or commercial failure. Resort towns that go bankrupt do so from lack of attention to detail and a lack of long term vision and adjustment.
Those towns that continue to cling to byzantine, business-as-usual, protectionist policies will continue to fail.
I love the Eastern Sierra. I have lived here 30 years and I have long term rentals I would love to occassionally consider for shorter terms from time-to-time. I would love to send you 13% of that. Oh, you argue that the visitor would have been in a commercial rental instead? I know many tourists that want to stay in a ‘real house’, or extend their stay if it has a home feel, and will not stay somewhere else.
They are driving right past you now, Mammoth Lakes.